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Gillingham 1 Plymouth Argyle 0: Vadaine Oliver’s goal clinches League 1 victory at Priestfield

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Gillingham ended their season with a win thanks to Vadaine Oliver’s 20th goal of the season.

Oliver headed home midway through the first half and that was enough for the Gills as they took 10th spot in the League 1 table after their final game of the campaign.

Vadaine Oliver puts Gillingham ahead at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones
Vadaine Oliver puts Gillingham ahead at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham had only pride to play for on the final game, as did visitors Plymouth Argyle. Boss Steve Evans named an unchanged team, one that included several players that may have played their last game for the Gills.

The Gills had won their last nine fixtures at home to Plymouth and started this one well, once it had got going.

The match was halted within seconds of the start when Argyle defender Kelland Watts suffered a head injury when challenging Oliver for the ball. The game was stopped for 10 minutes before the player was stretchered off and taken to hospital.

Olly Lee and Alex MacDonald put chances wide of the mark for Gillingham before the home side took a 28th minute lead, through leading scorer Oliver.

The big striker arrived at the back stick to head home after Lee had got a touch on Robbie McKenzie's cross. There was a good run from McKenzie into the box and an equally good pass from Jordan Graham to find him.

Jack Tucker went close to doubling the advantage as he diverted the ball just past the post when Oliver flicked on a Connor Ogilvie throw in to the box.

Argyle’s sub Byron Moore had forced Gills keeper Jack Bonham into a low save and Ben Reeves went close from a free-kick but the Gills went into the break with a goal advantage.

Gillingham celebrate Vadaine Oliver's opener Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham celebrate Vadaine Oliver's opener Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham had failed to claim three points from their last three weekend matches when in winning positions. Against Oxford, Northampton and Burton they had also gone into the break leading 1-0.

Lee had a good early chance in the second half from close range, after a clearance was played into his path, but on his left foot he couldn’t beat keeper Michael Cooper.

Niall Ennis had a half chance for Plymouth to level but from an angle couldn’t beat Bonham. The Gills keeper also denied Joe Edwards and when he was beaten, side-stepped by Moore, the Plymouth player somehow fired wide.

Those chances came around the hour mark as Plymouth, who up until then had rarely threatened, showed life in attack. Gillingham survived the flurry of chances.

Tyreke Johnson made a rare appearance off the bench for the Gills and came close to scoring from 25 yards, bending a shot just wide of the mark.

Lee headed wide from a Graham cross late in the game and Johnson had a shot saved by Cooper as Gills finished the game strongly.

Gillingham: Bonham, McKenzie, Ogilvie, O'Connor, Tucker, O'Keefe (Woods 58mins), Dempsey, MacDonald (Johnson 68mins), Graham, Lee, Oliver (Akinde 54mins). Subs not used: Bastien, Jackson, Willock, Samuel.

Plymouth: Cooper (McCormick 88mins), Watts (Moore 13 mins (Lolos 69mins)), Edwards, Ennis (Jephcott 69mins), Law, Camara, Tomlinson, Reeves, Fornah, Hardie, Mayor (Craske 88mins). Subs not used: Pursall, Mitchell.

Referee: Alan Young

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